It is no coincidence that April is National Lyme Disease Prevention Month. Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks, and the nasty little parasites are at their height during the spring months. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the organism Borrelia burgdorferi that is transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. The disease is most common in the northeastern, upper Midwestern, and West Coast states, however the area of concern appears to be spreading in recent years.
Infected animals may not develop any symptoms at all. Some will develop fever, lameness, swollen joints, depression, and/or loss of appetite. If the infection persists kidney failure and permanent lameness can ensue. If Lyme disease is suspected, we may suggest running a blood test to confirm infection. Luckily most pets with Lyme disease respond well to antibiotic therapy.
In endemic areas (like ours), vaccination of dogs for Lyme disease is recommended. Disease can also be prevented by using tick preventative products recommended by your veterinarian and by removing ticks promptly before disease transmission can occur. Avoiding tick infested areas and keeping shrubbery and grass closely trimmed can also lessen the likelihood of exposure. If your dog is at risk for contracting Lyme disease, so are you! Use care in areas with a heavy tick population.
Call us if you have any questions, or if your dog is showing symptoms.